Distracted driving injury lawyers in San Antonio
When you suffer an accident due to the fault of an inattentive driver, you’re entitled to seek compensation benefits through a San Antonio distracted driving accident attorney.
These benefits cover expenses related to your injuries and property loss, as well as pain and suffering and lost wages that the accident has caused you and your family.
In Texas, one in five road accidents were caused by distracted driving in 2021, according to a report by the state’s Department of Transportation. These incidents resulted in 431 people being killed and 2,934 seriously injured.
To win an accident claim, the victim must prove that the other driver did in fact engage in distracted driving. This term entails any action that diverts attention from the road, such as texting, talking on the phone, drinking, eating, checking the GPS, applying makeup, reading, watching a video, touching the stereo buttons or even changing the radio station.
However, proving this isn’t simple, as it requires the support of specialized experts in areas such as investigation and mechanics to gather the necessary evidence. In addition, insurance companies often adopt abusive strategies, such as making victims sign insufficient indemnities when they’re in a state of shock to guarantee maximum profits to their investors and leave victims unprotected.
Many victims sadly end up missing out on the opportunity to receive fair compensation that will allow them to recover from their injuries without the financial stress of paying medical bills. This is especially true if they don’t have sufficient resources due to an inability to work.
For all these reasons, it’s very important that the interests of a distracted driving accident victim be defended by a law firm. However, not just any law firm is capable of winning these types of cases. To be successful in such lawsuits, attorneys require proven experience in mastering the technical details of motor vehicle law, as well as extraordinary negotiation skills.
Have you or a loved one gotten in a car accident? At George Salinas Injury Lawyers, we’re experts in winning our clients compensation benefits that let them rebuild their lives with their families and free of financial worries.
Contact us by calling 210-225-0909 or filling out this form. We offer a free initial consultation and you never have to pay out-of-pocket to hire us. Our San Antonio distracted driving injury lawyers will fight to get you justice.
Common causes of distracted driving investigated by our lawyers
Our world today is fast-paced and requires people to complete many tasks at once. In fact, a new word has emerged to define this ability: “multitasking.”
However, when you’re behind the wheel, you can put the lives of people at risk and get into a serious accident by doing anything other than concentrating on the road.
The numbers are alarming: Every day in the United States, more than 100 people die in traffic accidents. Nine of them are due to distracted driving, according to research conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC). That’s almost 10 percent.
In an effort to reduce these numbers, it’s important for all drivers to take preventive steps and be aware of the most common reasons for these accidents. Here are the five most common causes of distracted driving, as investigated by our personal injury lawyers.
1. Using a cell phone
If a driver hears the sound of a cell phone message while driving, they may be tempted to look away from the road to check the text. This seemingly innocent action lasts an average of five seconds, during which a car going at 55 mph travels the distance of a soccer field.
During those nearly 360 feet that the driver’s attention is elsewhere, any unexpected event (a pothole, a crossing animal, or another car braking or changing lanes) can lead to an unfortunate accident.
2. Eating or drinking
It’s common for somebody in a rush to get into the car with a sandwich and coffee in hand to consume during the trip. Just like viewing a text message, the action of eating or drinking involves taking one’s eyes off the road.
Even if it lasts only a few seconds, this brief distraction can prevent the driver from reacting in the event of an unforeseen event and may lead to a terrible accident.
3. Talking to other passengers
When traveling with other passengers, especially over long distances, the car may become a social environment. It’s common for people to chat in the car and the driver may get interested in these conversations.
However, it’s the driver’s responsibility to keep their attention on the road and never turn to the back seats to interact with fellow passengers. The same goes for parents whose children are restless: they shouldn’t look away from the road to comfort or scold them.
4. Changing the radio station
Radio is one of drivers’ greatest companions. It’s a source of entertainment for people who have to spend long days behind the wheel or endure several minutes stuck in heavy traffic. However, the radio can also become a source of distraction at the wheel.
Changing the radio station to tune into different music, news or a sporting event means taking your eyes off the road for a couple of seconds. This may mean you can’t react in time if, for example, the light turns yellow at an upcoming intersection.
5. Consulting the GPS
GPS devices have become a popular tool with drivers, who leave them near the steering wheel to consult the fastest route to reach their destination according to the road conditions at that time.
Often this involves taking unknown routes and the driver is then forced to continually divert attention away from the steering wheel to verify that they’re going the right way. That’s why GPS devices have become one of the most common causes of distracted driving accidents.
Common types of injuries in distracted driving accidents
Distracted driving causes all types of motor vehicle accidents. The severity of injuries depends on a number of circumstances, such as the speed of the vehicles involved, their size or whether pedestrians were involved.
Some of the most common injuries associated with distracted driving accidents include the following.
- Spinal injuries (which are particularly severe if they affect the spinal cord, as they can cause varying degrees of paralysis, such as paraplegia or quadriplegia)
- Traumatic brain injuries and neurological damage
- Fractured ribs
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Injuries to the abdomen, thorax, legs, arms, elbows and knees
Alarming data on distracted driving crashes in the U.S.
Given that many distracted driving accidents are caused by reading, typing or sending text messages while driving, Texas has made it illegal to do so as of September 1, 2017. Drivers who violate this law are fined at least $200.
Despite this ban, accidents caused by distracted driving haven’t decreased, as shown by alarming data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- On average, 3,500 people are killed and 391,000 are injured each year in the United States as a result of distracted driving accidents.
- Last year, fatal accidents related to distracted driving resulted in the following figures: 61% of fatalities were drivers, 22% passengers and 13% pedestrians.
- 39% of distracted driving fatalities involved cell phones.
Recommendations to prevent distracted driving accidents
As part of an awareness campaign to reduce traffic accidents and ensure the safety of pedestrians, passengers and drivers on U.S. highways and streets, the Texas Department of Insurance published this report detailing recommendations to prevent distracted driving accidents. Some key takeaways include the following:
1. Tuck away your phone
Turn off your cell phone as soon as you get into the car (or put it on airplane mode) and tuck it away from view. (For example, put it in your purse or inside the glove compartment).
This will keep you protected from any notifications you receive, as you won’t be tempted to answer them. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you can answer any messages that you’ve received.
2. Pull over to handle any emergencies
If for some reason you’re expecting an important work or personal notification while driving, pull over every so often to check. (For example, every 10 minutes.) This way, you can check your phone for that important message without taking any risks on the road.
The same applies for long trips: every two or three hours you can pull over to answer any phone messages. Under no circumstances should you do this while driving. It’s illegal and also puts your life and the lives of others at risk.
3. Map your route before getting into the car
Don’t wait until you’re driving to check the GPS for the fastest route to your destination. Before leaving, consult this information and learn the route, so that you don’t have to check every turn while driving.
If for some reason you need to consult the GPS in the middle of your trip (for example, if a street is closed off), pull over and check the application while the car is stopped.
4. Stop driving if you feel tired
According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsy drivers are four times more likely to cause an accident. 37% of U.S. drivers have admitted to closing their eyes while driving due to fatigue, and 21% of fatal vehicle accidents are associated with a drowsy driver. If you suddenly feel sleepy while driving, stop the vehicle immediately and, if necessary, call for help.
5. Limit the number of passengers in your car
A navigator can be very helpful to alert you to potential hazards on the road. However, too many passengers in a car can be a source of distractions.
If you must drive with several passengers, keep in mind some tips, such as not getting involved in emotional conversations that may stress you out and stop participating in chats when approaching areas of heavy traffic.
6. Don’t eat, drink or smoke while driving
Saving time by snacking in the car may seem like a good idea. However, eating and drinking while driving means taking your eyes off the road several times, which may cause distracted driving.
The same applies to smoking, as you have to handle matches or a lighter, open the window and turn your head to let smoke out of the vehicle.
What must you prove to win a distracted driving accident case in San Antonio?
For a victim of a distracted driving accident to win their case and receive compensation benefits, it’s necessary to prove that the other driver did in fact crash due to distraction. From a legal standpoint, this proof must meet the following requirements:
- Establish the duty of care. Every driver is obliged to act responsibly behind the wheel to avoid endangering the safety of other drivers. In legal terms, this is known as a “duty of care.” Any driver who violates traffic regulations automatically breaches their duty of care.
- Prove that this duty of care was breached. In order to win an accident claim, you must prove conclusively that the other driver breached this duty of care. In the case of distracted driving, this involves gathering evidence about that act of distraction.
- Prove that this breach caused the victim’s injuries. To get full compensation benefits, the victim must not only prove that distracted driving occurred, but also that their physical and emotional injuries were a result of that distracted driving.
Why do I need the help of a distracted driving accident lawyer to win my case?
Many clients ask us why the help of an attorney is necessary to win a distracted driving case. The answer is that proving both the breach of duty of care and the resulting victim’s injuries involves getting experts from different areas who are equipped with high-tech tools.
For example, if the accident occurred because the at-fault driver was texting on his phone, how do you prove this?
At George Salinas Injury Lawyers, we have a proven track record of winning these types of cases. For this reason, we know there’s never just one legal path and each case requires specific solutions.
In the case of our example above, our team would identify three main legal actions:
- The easiest way to prove conclusively that the at-fault driver crashed while sending a message on his phone is through a video that shows him doing so. Our specialists go through the scene of the accident to track down possible cameras located on bridges, buildings, traffic lights, businesses and/or private homes that may have recorded the accident. In case they’re found, they also work on getting the videographic material.
- If there’s no recording of the accident, our investigation experts study the circumstances of the accident to find eyewitnesses, take down their statements and present them as evidence of distracted driving on the part of the at-fault driver.
- If there are no videos or witnesses, many law firms end up losing these types of cases. However, expert law firms like ours have high-tech tools at their disposal to prove distracted driving. For example, we utilize devices capable of tracking activity on the at-fault driver’s phone and establishing conclusively that the person was in fact texting while driving at the exact moment the crash occurred.
Once evidence is uncovered to prove distracted driving, your attorneys must have a thorough understanding of the laws governing Texas car accidents. In this way, they can build a strong case that will get you fair compensation benefits. Any failure or inconsistency regarding the legal specifics of your case may be enough for an insurance company to overturn the case.
For these reasons, an accident victim requires the aid of experienced distracted driving accident attorneys, such as our team at George Salinas Injury Lawyers. After all, we’re San Antonio’s most recommended accident attorneys!
How much money can I get if I win a distracted driving case in San Antonio?
There are no exact compensation figures for distracted driving accidents. The amounts of each case are related to its specific characteristics, although the calculation is based on two essential elements:
The severity of the injuries
The estimated recovery time
Generally speaking, the more serious the injuries and the longer the rehabilitation period, the more compensation an accident victim is entitled to receive.
Calculations are made according to different compensation categories, such as:
- Coverage of all expenses related to physical injuries (including medications, surgeon’s fees, intensive care, hospitalization and rehabilitation equipment).
- Compensation for psychological injuries, such as pain, suffering, stress, anguish or depression. (To calculate these, a figure between 1.5 and 5 is established depending on the severity of injuries and then multiplied by the total amount of medical bills).
- Reimbursement of all lost wages that the victim is unable to earn because of injuries. (E.g. If the victim is a construction worker whose arm injuries prevent him from working for six months, he’s entitled to receive an amount equal to those six months of wages.)
What steps should I take after a distracted driving accident?
If you were involved in a traffic accident, the most important thing is you and your passengers’ health. The first thing you should do is call an ambulance (if no one else has already done so) and get medical attention. Be sure to go to the hospital if your injuries require it.
Once you have received medical attention, there are a number of steps you should follow to help you succeed in your distracted driving accident compensation case:
- Call George Salinas Injury Lawyers at 210-225-0909 immediately.
- Refuse to give a statement or sign anything if you’re approached by an insurance company agent. Also, don’t say that you feel fine. (Even if you do, keep in mind that many injuries take several hours or days to show symptoms. If you claim to be fine and later discover that you have injuries, your initial statement can greatly complicate your case.)
- Document the accident scene with videos and photographs, showing the cars involved and your injuries. If you’re unable to do so due to your injuries, ask someone else to document the accident scene.
- Notify the police and obtain a copy of the police report, which you can request online.
Contact our San Antonio distracted driving injury lawyers
Have you or a loved one suffered an accident due to a distracted driver? You’re entitled to receive multiple compensation benefits to help rebuild your lives without worrying about your finances.
At George Salinas Injury Lawyers, we specialize in winning cases like yours. We’re here for you every day of the year at any time, so call us at 210-225-0909 (in English or Spanish). Our San Antonio distracted driving injury lawyers will fight to get you and your family justice.
Our experienced accident attorneys at George Salinas seek justice for victims and protect them at all times. That’s why we work under a payment method known in the legal field as contingency fees. This means you never have to pay us out-of-pocket. We will handle your case with our resources and only charge a small percentage of the final compensation you receive (i.e. we only get paid if we win your case).
Texas law protects you. Anyone who is involved in an accident due to someone else’s fault is entitled to compensation regardless of their immigration status. It’s likely that an insurance company representative will try to threaten you if you’re undocumented. But don’t be afraid, you’re not alone. Our attorneys at George Salinas Injury Lawyers will defend you and guarantee the privacy of your personal information.
If you lost a loved one during a distracted driving accident, you’re entitled to receive compensation benefits, such as coverage of all funeral expenses. In addition, family members who were financially dependent on the deceased may receive benefits to grieve without worrying about money. Relatives who can claim this type of compensation include children, parents or spouses of the deceased. (In case there are none, siblings and cousins may also claim this benefit.)
Not necessarily. In fact, very few cases of distracted driving accidents are resolved at court. The vast majority don’t require a trial and are resolved during negotiations between parties (which can take as little as a few weeks). Only if a favorable settlement for the victims isn’t reached during this stage will the case go to trial. In this case, it can take several months or even years to resolve.